The Structure Of Society: Organizations, Social Institutions and Globalization

The Structure of Society: Organizations, Social Institutions and Globalization

A structure is a design of any given system while society is simply the state in which different members of a population co-exist together fro their joint profit. Therefore, a social structure is used to refer to the associations that occur among individuals and groups that are present in a community setup. In addition, it may refer to the patterns of mannerisms within the given society or the social organizations and customs that tend to have a considerable effect on the society itself to the point of determining the behavior of individuals making up the society. Social organizations and institutions are just but a few of the components that make up the social structure others being the ranks that tend to develop within the society, functions and cultural beliefs and prevalent norms. Due to the elaborate nature of the subject of social structures with its respective aspects, it is a true phenomenon that these social setups and factors play a significant role in the determination of the monetary, law, political and cultural systems that tend to take shape in the society’s mannerisms over a long period of time (Hutchison, 2003).

Social microstructures are those relational patterns that tend to occur between the smallest essentials of the society such that they cannot be split into smaller units. On the other hand, the macrostructures are those that are made up by a combination of smaller units of the society such that a macro unit can be split further to expose the underlying basic elements that bring about its existence. For example, an extended family can be considered as a macro structure since it can be further broken down into the different nuclear families (microstructures) that lead to its existence. Furthermore, both micro and macro structures can be broken down to the simplest classes of the structures according to the different social positions. Normative structures define the norms that occur between the social classes while ideal structures deal with the beliefs. Interest structures deals with the different objectives of the society while interaction structures deal with the means of contacts (Kontopoulos, 1993).

Social structures have their foundations on either normal day-to-day wants or social disagreements that require attention from the societal level or they can be deliberately planned by some members of the community with an objective in mind. Hence, social structures touch on our every day lives in most of the places we dwell in ranging from the family setups we live in to the schools, churches, work places, and social places that we usually visit and many more groups we relate to. Social organizations and institutions are both socializing grounds that bring people together with an aim of reaching a given objective. As social organization is a collection of people pursuing cooperate objectives and aims that are defined by predetermined guidelines concerning anything pertaining to the group. Some examples of social organizations include churches, trade unions, educational facilities like colleges and schools and many more. A social institution on the other hand refers to a compound set of societal rule and regulations in a defined and orderly manner in such a way that it leads to the safeguarding of some of the communal values (Scott, 2001).

At times, the words institution and organization are used in a changeable way in that either the word organization is used to refer to an institution or vice versa but are only limited to those cases in which the establishment being identified is a formal one like a penitentiary. The issue of the institution in the sociology sense has been present for quite some time now to the point of coming up with some of the five basic structures that make up the different institutions. Note that, these institutions have originated from the view of dividing them on the normative perspective of social structurism, which usually deals with the social norms and how they operate between different social classes of the community. These five social institutions are the government, faith/ religion, education, family and economic. The family institution deals with all the issues that surround the topic of kinfolk, including how to determine the ties; the government institution is responsible for the drafting and allocation of the law requirements and indicating how the powers will be shared and used lawfully. On its part, the economic institution is accountable for the regulation of the movement of both goods and services in a balanced manner to all parts of the country (Knight & Sened, 1998).

The educational institution is liable for ensuring that education streams down the generational gaps in a consistent and reliable manner while the last type, the religious institution, is responsible for the human relationships that exist with the super natural realm. Hence, for the social structure to be complete, it must consist of the organization/ institution, groups and ranks, social beliefs pertaining to the given entity, roles that the individuals deal with and the regulations. Like in the case of a business setting, the organizations that are affiliated with it include the trade unions, manufacturers and suppliers of a variety of goods and services and advertising agencies just to name but a few. Ranks include managers, storekeepers, inventory controllers, secretaries and office messengers. Social beliefs like nothing exists in the business world for free although it might be given out as a gift of while the rules deal with the expected arrival and departure time from the office, the dressing code and overall mode of conduct while in the business premises (Martin & Fitzgerald, 2002).

With all these issues, personal choice now plays a major role in determining whether an individual can comfortably work with all the specifications that are laid down by the different social institutions/organizations, and if not, what environment would best suit the candidate. Another important issue is the way the structural components like sales and profit targets auger with all the working groups involved and how every structural aspect influences their output. Just like any other phenomenon that exists on the globe, the social structures have both benefits and detriments. Perhaps the biggest merit of the social structures is the mutual benefits that occur to the parties that are involved in the institution or organization at hand. These benefits may include the creation of job opportunities in social projects, the availability of donations and cheap capital in case of setting up a community enterprise for the edification of all the members like bore holes in areas experiencing water shortages and a large number of target customers in the communal level. In most cases, all participants tend to reap a great deal of awards with an exception of only a few cases (Davie, 2009).

One notable problem is that of sharing social cost especially in public goods like education and recreational grounds. Any rational consumer would not feel the financial obligation in such a situation because the good seems to be “free of charge” bringing about the free rider problem. In real sense, the goods are not free as such since the taxpayers’ money is used to maintain the public goods. Another problem arises with the misuse of the facilities as they are viewed to be free. If not checked, it mostly leads to both the misuse and overuse of the good and eventually to its total depletion. The ways of dealing with this problem includes the privatization of the property right in order to pass the delegation of taking care of the good to a specific individual or group. This method has its problems because it prevents those without the necessary requirements from using the resource. A better and effective way is the use of the governing body to control how the resource is used and maintained since it tends to be in agreement with the upholding concept of providing maximum social welfare to the public without any profit intentions (Newman, 2006).

From all the above discussion, it is a plain fact that the society is made up of social structures, which help with the running of almost all day-to-day activities. Organizations and institutions that are present in any given society may either take the form of public or private enterprises. As we have dealt a bit with the problems that are faced in the provision of public goods, we have also noted that the difference between them and the private goods is the monopolization of property rights. Either way, both enterprises need to conform to the societies wants and provide them in an efficient manner to avoid conflicts. A small community however can be able to operate outside the social structures, which for a big one are an inevitable situation. The efficiency of these enterprises are only realized when all components involved act in a cohesive manner and each individual plays out his role as expected, Any thing short of this just goes to bring about problems (Ahrne, 1994).

Bureaucracy thus is a very in expendable tool in the realization of most of the societal objectives since they lay out guidelines on how to calculate the needed workforce in such a way that there is no shortage or excesses and exploit to the maximum gain in the enterprises. The power pyramid is also elaborated, making it easy for an individual to know his job description and what exactly is required from him. In addition, it eases the ridding of personal exploits and interests in the working environment. However, it is beneficial to avoid the middle ground of the bureaucratic system as the position imposes constraints in that one is trapped between the low and upper level employees who they cannot do without and are often plagued with the need to please both sides and it can be very tiring leaving one weary. The hierarchies also felt in an institutional or organizational setup dictate that those at the top are paid the most and tend to act on the intelligent and strategic needs of the establishment, while those at the bottom are paid the least and do operational work. Despite the level that an individual fits in the organization’s or institution’s structure, all participants are equally important requiring the communal inputs in order to be able to reach the objectives of the establishment. (Newman, 2006)

Globalization of these enterprises involves the growth and expansion of the existing entities that need a lot of resources and good management to be able to be sustained. As no country or institution is self-sustaining, the rate of dependency on each other is high leading to the growth of international economics and trade in order to provide and avenue for a way of outsourcing for those goods and services that cannot be produced locally. This work is founded on the principal of the micro and macro structures in that the establishments behave as the micro units while the larger market acts as the macro structure to facilitate the exchange of the social resources across geographical and spatial boundaries. The emergence of multinational corporations (MNCs) is an example of globalization (Robertson & White, 2003).

Some of the benefits that are evident from such as social arrangement are the provision of a wide range of goods and services to the people and at very cheap and affordable rates due to the existence of a lot of healthy competition among the good and service providers. The demerits are that it poses threats to the growth of young and local industries which when not controlled leads to their collapsing and consequently triggers unemployment in the scene. In such a case, the government institution plays a major role in the controlling of the trade activities brought about by such establishments so as to protect the existence of the young companies. Together with the economic institutions, they work hand in hand to better the societal welfare (Guthrie, 2006). As a conclusion, society structures are seen to be of uttermost importance to the smooth existence and running of a societal needs and issues and the institutions and organizations developed are usually very useful in the realization of the goals and aims that are to be established.




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Scott, W. R. (2001). Institutions and organizations. California: Sage. Retrieved November 23, 2009, from


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